The Financial Mail, has, more recently, in conjunction with Markinor, confirmed Wits Business School as the best business school in Southern Africa for the fourth consecutive year.
In 2003 WBS became the first business school in Africa to be ranked as one of the best business schools in the world by the UK's Financial Times. It is also the only African member that has been accepted by the Programme in International Management "an international consortium of higher education institutions, outstanding in their field and delivering a graduate-equivalent degree in management." Finally, the school is one of the few schools in Africa invited to become a member of the US-based Graduate Management Admissions Council.
WBS is the only business school to have a relationship with the Harvard Business School, where a jointly branded Senior Executive programme is run both in Johannesburg and in Boston, and the Making Markets Work programme has been run in Johannesburg for the past two years. The latter programme aims to equip executives with the necessary skills and knowledge required to make their economies work. The eight-day course uses various international case studies focusing on the factors behind successful economies, the workings of a thriving company, and the personal characteristics of an effective leader.
Most of the case studies used stem from Harvard, but collaboration with WBS has resulted in some local South African studies being incorporated, as well as those from Mozambique, Uganda and Rwanda. Topics covered include:
Programmes are driven by leading-edge business concepts that draw on both local and international best practice, coupled with a highly interactive approach to learning.
WBS focuses on both process and performance to elevate management skills to the next level. The programmes combine theory-driven knowledge with strategies for implementing them. Management develops critical thinking and analytical skills that confront business challenges from a fresh and energetic perspective.
All lecturers and facilitators are closely involved in both the business environment and the academic world. They apply their experience in commerce and industry in the classroom, and their approach to teaching and learning is pragmatic and integrated.
The WBS's case centre has a range of local case studies, which are used together with cases sourced from around the world. Only case material that is relevant to the participants is selected for each specific programme.
Teamwork and group study produce an interactive learning environment that is critical to the WBS learning process. Study groups are the core of instructional methodology - enabling both formal and informal learning. This culture of co-operation fosters new ways of thinking as well as opening up networking opportunities.
Participants are expected to think concepts through to their practical application. Any prior learning is built upon.
The Executive Development programme
The Executive Development programme was the first when the WBS opened in 1968. It remains the flagship. While it continually evolves to reflect the changing demands of a global business environment, the programme retains its broad strategic perspective to enable the general manager to steer the organisation to higher levels of success in a Southern African and African context.
In becoming a business leader, developing the self is as important as developing competence. The programme takes time out from the incessant demands of day-to-day operational issues in order to discover the map to guide one through the often confusing ways to success.
Highly talented executives from countries outside South Africa are joining those from local companies in the programmes. These perspectives in the classroom combine with the expertise of professors with global experience and insight to create the special learning environment that marks a business school experience. Developing the 'heart' aspects of leadership are part of this.
The Executive Development programme offers ambitious executives the opportunity to learn, to be inspired, to be re-energised and to emerge better equipped to lead their organisations into the future.
Who needs the programme?
The Executive Development programme is designed for business executives who wish to grow their management and leadership skills by way of an intensive programme of a short duration.
Globalisation and the restructuring of commerce and industry are redefining business. Developments in information technology, the smashing of market boundaries, ever-changing socio-economic and political contexts, sky-rocketing customer expectations; all demand that executives keep alert to current thinking in business. Because people in senior positions have very little time for formal studies, the programme is specifically designed to fill that gap. So far, more than 2 000 senior executives have benefited from the experience.
Participants are managers with a record of functional expertise who are assuming general management responsibilities. The programme helps them to adjust to the strategic perspectives of general management, and benefit from working with senior managers from a variety of industries and backgrounds. At the same time, they learn to expand their understanding of an ever-changing South Africa that is characterised by increasing cultural and gender diversity at board and operational levels. Delegates come from many parts of Africa, as well as abroad, enriching and diversifying debate.
In 2004, the Executive Development programme will focus on the development of the individual leader. It will give highly competent managers the tools to strengthen their personal abilities and meet the challenges presented by a business leadership role.
The programme lasts for four weeks, the shortest possible time to provide a comprehensive management education experience geared to the conditions of South African business today. Many delegates view it as a vital investment in the future for both the individual and their organisation. This year the programme will be taught on the WBS campus in Parktown, Johannesburg, and at selected locations in Europe.
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